Why Are Men Less Likely to See Their Doctors and What Public Health Initiatives Are Being Done to Break This Cycle?

by Anil Keswani, MD

Men often have a number of reasons for not seeing a doctor. Some don’t have a primary care physician that they see on a regular basis, so they don’t know where to go.

Get a list of physicians included on your plan from your insurance company or ask family and friends for a recommendation. You can also call a physician referral service at your local hospital. Scripps Health has a call center that offers referrals to doctors. Call 1-800-SCRIPPS to speak with a specialist who can help you find the right physician for you.

If you don’t have health insurance, public policy initiatives like the Affordable Care Act have made it easier for you to get it and get medical care. Go to healthcare.gov more information.

Often, men who are sick or injured feel they should “tough it out” rather than go to a doctor. That’s not a good idea. Some serious diseases, like high blood pressure, don’t have symptoms. Many conditions are more treatable in the early stages and get much worse if ignored. When they do get sick, men are more likely to be hospitalized for conditions such as congestive heart failure, diabetes and pneumonia. That’s why it’s important to take good care of your health and catch potential problems early on.

Some men avoid the doctor because they know they will be told to lose weight, exercise, stop smoking, cut back on drinking, or something else they don’t want to hear. Here’s where you should “tough it out.” Even if you don’t want to hear it, it doesn’t hurt to listen to the advice of an expert, and you will likely be pleasantly surprised if you decide to actually make healthy changes to your lifestyle.

Don’t have time? This is your health — it’s important to you, your family, your children and your friends. Anyone can find two hours to go to the doctor for a check-up. It may literally save your life.

The Men’s Health Caucus (MHC) of the American Public Health Association was created in 2010 to bring together academic and public health departments, private and non-profit organizations with a common interest in improving the health and well-being of men, boys and their families. Educating men and boys, their families, and health care providers about the importance of early detection of male health issues can result in reducing rates of mortality for male-specific diseases, as well as improve the health of America’s men and its overall economic well-being. For more information visit menshealthcaucus.net

This Scripps Health and Wellness tip was provided by Anil Keswani, MD, corporate vice president of ambulatory health care and population health management.